Leeds Rhinos: YEP Jury give their verdicts

Jamie Peacock.

Jamie Peacock.

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Our YEP Jury have their say on the Challenge Cup semi-final and the Super-8s.

GRAHAM POULTER

WHAT AN outstanding game of Rugby League that was, played in the right spirit.

We were brilliant, resilient, tough and also credit goes to St Helens for making it an exciting game.

We again set off like our lives depended on it, which is what we have to do in games, so that the opposition are chasing the game and not ourselves.

St Helens tested our defence and we stood up to them as one, which for me is great preparation for the start of the Super-8s; every game will be like a final, high intensity, we can’t afford to let our standards drop now.

There’s a lot of rugby to be played before the Challenge Cup final at Wembley against Hull KR in three weeks’ time, so we have to put the final to bed and concentrate fully now on the Super-8s.

Kevin Sinfield absolutely bossed the game, sensible game management, led his troops around the island, which allowed the foot soldiers, the forward pack to dominate St Helens.

Our backs were outstanding, we are fantastic to watch, very easy on the eye. I said earlier in the season that now it’s the business end, we will play a lot better.

It’s come to fruition. We haven’t won anything yet, but we are certainly giving it our best shot, the best is yet to come, the cream is rising to the top.

I’m gutted for Jamie Jones-Buchanan. He doesn’t deserve the bad luck that he’s having with injuries, he’s got Leeds Rhinos running through his veins.

So if you’re reading this Jamie, on behalf of all Leeds Rhinos supporters I wish you well in your recovery, you’ll be back bigger and stronger next season, you’re a Leeds Rhinos legend.

We start our Super-8s campaign tomorrow night at Headingley against Warrington, whom I expect will be pretty motivated after losing to Hull KR in the Challenge Cup semi-final.

Warrington will be confident after having already beaten us twice this season.

For me they are there for the taking on current form, it’s what we do tomorrow night that matters and not what they did to us twice this season. Just stay composed and disciplined and we win the game!

DIANNE HALL

What a blistering start to take us back to Wembley to defend our title, alongside some superb handling and crunching merciless defence. To be only 12 points up after 25 minutes is a credit to Saints’ defensive effort in a game that at the outset was too close to call.

Eventually as usually happens in games, Saints got a foothold, when the never-say-die commitment and willingness to work hard for one another saw the Rhinos concede only one try in the first half.

The highlight of the third quarter was a try from Jamie Peacock who rolled back the years to score a marvellous try, along with a top drawer side step, under the sticks. Saints hit back with a couple of tries but the best centre in the league sealed the victory with another well worked try. I thought that the whole team played very well and it was difficult to pick a man of the match.

Individual plaudits must go to Adam Cuthbertson (off-load master) and Zak Hardaker who must surely be a certainty for England’s full-back spot this autumn.

The only negative in a wonderful game was the injury to Jamie Jones-Buchanan and on the day before his birthday too!

Next up is only club to beat us twice this season, Warrington. Can’t see it being three times somehow!

CRAIG TARBOTTON

We’re heading to Wembley once more.

I was confident we would do the business against Saints and it was a job well done by the boys.

It was a great game to watch with Leeds playing fast free flowing rugby that us fans love to see.

Off-load king Adam Cuthbertson was in fine form once again and Sir Kev controlled the game as only he can.

Jamie Peacock scored possibly the best try of his career, even Ben Thaler called on the video referee just to check if it was indeed Jamie Peacock who ran from 40 metres out, side stepped and dived between the sticks.

Now I know where Kallum Watkins learned his footwork skills!

ANNE BOSANQUET

Playing against St Helens in the Challenge Cup semi-final was never going to be easy. It was a close game, but we were hungry for it and put on the better performance and deserved a place at Wembley.

Jamie Peacock had a great night, scoring a belter of a try.

JAMIE SMITH

This was always going to be closer than our league encounters and even with our half-time lead, you knew St Helens were going to fight back and make it hard for us. But we dug deep and were deserving winners and now head back to Wembley for the second year in a row!

Whilst Wembley is an exciting prospect, we’ve some really important Super-8 games before that, starting with Warrington at Headingley tomorrow.

They will be looking to bounce back after exiting the Cup at the semi-final stage last week against Hull KR, whilst we will be out for revenge after they did the double over us in the league.

I’m predicting another close game, with us edging it by six points.

JON WINTER

A superb 20-minute start laid the foundation for another Wembley visit! I really hope we can send off the old guard with another win. Hull KR won’t be an easy game in the final. It’s a shame about JJB, hope he can get back to fitness for next season!

Ashton Golding. PIC: Tony Johnson

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